Needle-phobia is usually a great concern in dentistry, and the replacement of painful injections by patient-friendly needle-free topical formulations would bring several advantages in dental practice worldwide. In this pursuit, the effects of combining prilocaine hydrochloride (PCL) and lidocaine hydrochloride (LCL) in different proportions in mucoadhesive films on their in vitro permeation and retention through porcine esophageal mucosa was studied. Complementarily, the permeation and retention of isolated LCL was investigated. The in vitro model used for evaluating buccal anesthetic penetration and retention in buccal epithelium was validated. In addition, the feasibility of a novel in vivo model to evaluate the painful sensation due to puncture “needle-shaped” gum jaw of adults at shallow and deep levels was demonstrated. The in vivo clinical survey revealed the efficiency of the films, which had onset of anesthesia at 5 min, peak of anesthetic effect within 15 and 25 min and anesthesia duration of 50 min after being placed in maxillary sites. The in vitro drug flux, permeability coefficient and retention in the epithelium significantly correlated with in vivo onset, peak and extent of shallow and deep anesthetic effect. At shallow level, the permeation of LCL has shown to be closely related to the onset of anesthesia, while the penetration of PCL has a significant impact in the peak of anesthetic effect. Concerning the deep level, the penetration of PCL is required to attain the onset of anesthetic effect. The total amount of drug retained in the epithelium showed to modulate the extent of both shallow and deep anesthesia. Thus, the combination of LCL and PCL in mucoadhesive films may offer dentists and their patients a safe improvement for pain management during dental procedures.Graphical abstract
Mucoadhesive films containing prilocaine (PCL) and lidocaine (LCL) hydrochlorides were effective for decreasing the painful sensation due to puncture “needle-shaped” gum jaw of adults at shallow and deep levels.